Just starting a new thread in answer to the previous one so newcomers don't have to read through. I've done some reading around and asked some opinions of other vets involved in food safety and pathology. The reasonable question was posed by Apache as why Best Practice is opposed to incising Lymph Nodes, which he and I would do routinely when doing a post-mortem.
A colleague put it nice and simply that there is a difference between a PM to find out why an animal died and the inspection process that decides if the deer is fit to eat. He drily suggested that he hoped we knew why it had died! So inspection of nodes is largely irrelevant in the absence of other findings.
Human meat inspection incises nodes specifically to look for TB, so is this applicable to deer?
TB in deer is often liquid pus rather than the cheesy/gritty pus found in cattle and from what I've read, I get the distinct impression that TB in deer is not subtle even if only the nodes are affected. The deer itself may look OK, but lesions are big. The liquid nature of the pus in many lesions means there is a real risk of carcass contamination if the node is incised. The pattern of lesions in deer is that if any internal abscess is found (without an obvious cause) then TB has to be considered.
Best Practice is that if the nodes are suspicious - enlarged, lumpy, change in colour based on looking and feeling then they should be treated as suspicious. BP says to bag and collect offal and report to your nearest AHVLA office (see above sticky).
We've had a TB hotspot declared near here and AHVLA would like to have case reports from deer. If they are all negative, so much the better.
Hope this helps